Opening Day

Opening Day

A few words immediately come to my mind – magical, excitement, anticipation, awe and wonder.  Something happens on opening day. My words cannot do it justice, but I will try. I don’t know if it is the build up of having been on the traveling for several days, or being separated from our son but something indescribable happened on opening day. It was so humid and hot and yet I had goose bumps (referred to as Glory Bumps when I am praying or at church) the entire time.  There were skydivers, soldiers, past memorials to fallen men who were once 12U Dreams Park Players, selected mom to do a rockettes dance and selected fathers dancing to YMCA.  To say it is a party atmosphere is an understatement. The one negative I will say is that the ceremony is long – too long actually.  Perhaps the length adds to the feeling of anticipation.  Couple of tips regarding the ceremony:

  • coordinate with your team parents and wear the SAME shirts so your boys can easily find you in the crowd…. There are about 3 to 5 thousand people there – maybe more.
  • Sit on the very back row between first and second base. There are 2 reasons for this: #1 you are somewhat shielded from the sun and #2 you will be able to stand up and see over the back wall and you will get to see YOUR TEAM as the boys line up before the processional. It was very cool to call out to them (far away) and they heard us….
  • Opening day is by far in my opinion the toughest day for the fans because everyone is in one place. Instead of thousands of women using about 30 different restrooms, we were all in line for the one just outside the main stadium. Same thing goes for the concession stand lines. My suggestion is to eat a big meal prior to the arrival (starts at 4:30) and then just buy water bottles from the vendors who roam the stands throughout the ceremony.

Prices at concessions

I was pleasantly surprised at how reasonable the prices were at the concession areas. They have conveniently placed a stand as well as restrooms between every 4 fields. After opening day I never once had to wait in line for anything at Dreams Park.   All drinks are priced $1.25 which I feel is fair. I highly recommend that you purchase a $5.00 cup shaped in a cute baseball which allows refills for only $1.25 – but it holds about 36 oz of drink. You can refill it throughout your week there.

I thought the ice cream prices were too high – $2.75 for a cookie ice cream sandwich but their pizza was out of this world delicious for only $2.00 a slice.  You may only use cash at the park, so be sure to get a lot of cash out if you plan to quench your thirst or fill your belly while there. There are no coolers or outside food brought in. We met the owners who happen to be friends with someone on our team and they are gracious wonderful people. They had the vision and built this tournament and I think it would be wrong to try and smuggle food in especially since the prices are so reasonable.

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Dreams Park 12U Tournament Day 1

After a year of fund raising and playing about a ba zillion games we finally made it TO COOPERSTOWN…. I created this blog so that you as a parent who will soon embark on a journey to your son’s tournament can learn first hand what to expect… Knowledge is power…..

The evening of Day #1
Our team met for dinner to fellowship and make an arrival plan. We had a check in time of 8:00pm Friday evening. I had actually read on other blogs that the check in is a horrible experience but we found it to be just the opposite. Everything is planned for at Dreams Park. I found that exceptions simply will NOT be made. Because they are responsible for 1200 boys a week there is no margin of error as it relates to safety and security.

We drove onto campus and were given a check in card to put on our dashboard. At the next stop we were directed to row F which eventually (10 minutes later) led us to our dorm/ barracks which was 45B. Immediately we felt the sense of urgency as we unloaded our son, his luggage and baseball gear. As soon as we got his stuff out of the van (all of about 3 minutes) we were directed to move our van to a parking lot and were invited by the CDP staff to walk back to help get our son settled into his new week long home. While my husband moved the van, I helped get the bed made and sort out his belongings.

The rooms
The rooms are NOT air conditioned. There are many windows which are perfect for box fans to be put into for better circulation. You definitely want to make CERTAIN that several large box type fans are brought and that each player and coach bring a personal small fan. Imagine when it rains ( as it did when we were there) the stench of 15 hot, sweaty, tired and muddy bodies while enduring weather of sticky humidity – it smells……Please do yourself a favor and send Febreeze.

Pins –
do not skimp on this… Pin trading is huge – absolutely a HUGE HUGE HUGE HUGE deal……. Our pins had a blinking light built in which made it one of the most sought after pins to have. Our team felt very special as boys from all over were knocking on their dorm door just to get a pin… Each of our players had 80 pins – 40 on the day of arrival and 40 given out on Monday… The boys trade and deal during all their spare time….

We did not realize how much fun the pin trading would be and so naturally did not budget into the mix getting pins for the little sisters and brothers. Thankfully many of the players were generous and gave a few pins away to them to help get them started. But in your planning stages, you really should consider ordering pins for siblings – hey perhaps even parents..

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